Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Phumani Paper's Archival Packaging; Hon's limited edition of artist's sketchbooks.

Artist's limited edition sketchbooks.
Archival packing designed and constructed by Phumani Paper.
Today I paid a visit to the University of Johannesburg’s Archival Paper Mill, the handmade paper making research unit, associated with Phumani Paper.  A craft industries job creation venture, started my Kim Berman many years ago, linked to the Faculty of Art Design and Architecture’s printmaking unit, within the Department of Visual Arts. At one point 21 centres were set up across the country to facilitate handmade paper skills development programs mainly from invader flora and recycled materials. The unit grew substantially and eventually the R&D unit was established to ensure technological advancement in support of the handmade paper business ventures. Sponsored by the Department of Arts and Culture as well as research grants, Phumani Paper became arguably the most accomplished craft development initiative in the country.  The reason for my visit was to deliver a peony pattern print on acid-free paper that will form part of the archival paper constructed packaging for my limited edition artist sketchbooks – patterned inserts to give the final product that handcrafted decorated edge.

Sipho admiring his masterfully crafted archival packaging products

Featured here are the final products, both the leather-bound and foiled limited edition of artist sketchbooks (image on the left) and the Phumani Paper packaging (image above). The books were delivered this morning. It was a very special moment, when Sipho, the master crafts person who designed and beautifully constructed the boxes, submitted the products to see the envisaged end result. 
The choice of handmade paper and the colour was just perfect, ensuring an integrated and complimentary end result. The finishing touch of inserting a sleeve decorated with colourful peonies will add a decorative and luxurious touch of exclusivity to the end result. The final product will only be seen at the exhibition. It is always good to have that element of a surprise. Not to show and or share too much before the opening.

I spent some time at the archival paper mill located at the University’s Doornfontein Campus, and took some images of the papermaking and recycling process. This particular Hollander beater paper-making machine (first created in 1680) featured here was developed and improved upon in close collaboration with Centre’s of Excellence in the United States.  

Today the unit lends support on many levels to local artists and crafts people that wish to pursue creative art works in handmade paper. Every aspect of the craft is explored and developed here to great effect. A reputable research unit that has reached master craftsman status since it‘s humble beginnings many years ago. The meticulously crafted boxes satisfy on all levels, to this fact I can honestly testify.


Wyn Vogel said...

I have to agree Eugene this is perfection in the making - from such humble makings to something so beautifully constructed (including the artists work - not to mention the obvious!!) you are really setting a standard here! Will the books be available for sale online? Cheers now!

Alan said...

This exibition is going to highlight your mastery of all the various facets of your artwork. The attention to detail and the perfection of the final product is so absolutely you. I am so proud to be your brother